The Rich, The Poor, And The Goan..!

gasper crasto, Goa, Goan, Navelim

-a humor story by gasper crasto...26.10.2016

“It doesn't really matter to a Goan whether he is rich or poor. He doesn't care if he is not smart, nor popular. To his 'life', he is the greatest.” ~a common Goan thought.

Shall we go shopping?” my wife asked at the weekend.

Am not sure if there is any phobia term related to shopping, but I get this fear as soon as I hear the word ‘shopping’ especially when my wife says it.

“Shh.. not in the evenings.” I said casually not to arouse her fury.

“Oh come on, let’s just take a round..” she insisted.

“It’s good to go out, but I guess it’s better home. Where do you want to go anyway, what you want to buy,..” 

“Let’s go to Avenues Mall. Just like that, for kicks..”

“Avenues Mall..!” my heart skipped a beat, “Just for kicks hmm?” 


“Hello..,. Avenues is perhaps the largest mall in the world; and most expensive. That place is for the elite and wealthy. If people like us start hanging out there, where will the rich, the sultans and sheikhs go?

“What nonsense are you talking..” she eyed me.

“If others don’t have it, atleast we should have. Some sense!”

“We can’t go to Avenues mall? Who on earth said we can’t?” she asked. 

“We can. Not on weekends though, and certainly not at prime times like this. First, the traffic is a pain, second -- the queues at pay-counters for nothing.”

“My mind is set..! Avenues..” she was adamant.

“..Remember, we go there only when somebody visits us – like my mother did last and those footballer friends from Goa and Dubai. That place is a showbiz - Debenhams, Armanis, Louis Vuittons... Only filmstars and ‘high class’ can afford those...!”

“Hey, wait a minute. Which ‘class’ do WE belong? Tell me, tell me..” she wanted to know.

“Goans are middle-class all the way, make no bones of that. There are no B.P.L Goans abroad – people Below Poverty Line; not many at the Friday market or garage sales that I see, and definitely no Goan Sheikhs around...”

“Oh, come-on, there are so many topmost Goans that I know," she looked across at me, they sponsor dramas, shows, church events, and give huge donations all the time!”

“Maybe. But hardly any CEOs or tycoons to name, and surely none with Ferraris or Bentleys to fall into the top-brass. Goans don’t run Lulu Hypermarkets, Centre-Points, Joyalukkas, or Money Exchange Centres like the Malyalis!”

“The thing I just can’t quite figure out is, if WE are MIDDLE-CLASS, what on earth does that mean?” she threw her hands up.

Sometimes I wished somebody ‘shocked’ me with a live wire just to understand what was going on in my wife’s mind. 

I felt my educational career was not a class-act, to be sure, to answer her on the subject. 

“I understand what the word ‘middle’ means,” I said after a calculated thought. “And I know the word ‘class’. What it means when you put them together is your call...” 

Well, it mattered little to me if it was ‘middle’ or ‘last’.  But I had lately discovered a way of safeguarding my ‘wealth’ by cutting down on shopping. 

My basic financial philosophy was simple - spend less than we earn. I knew that was a revolutionary concept in today's world, but it kept me in good stead atleast for the first 3 weeks of the month. 

:::Although larger than life, the story is just an imagination of the writer:::

“So you don’t really know what middle-class means!” she concluded.

“I guess nobody in the Middle-East knows that. In fact, the generation here has no idea about middle, bottom, working or sleeper, or any class for that matter.”

“???” she looked at me. Eyes popped out.

“No one wants to be lower-class in this world; everyone wants to be da Goan-class -- nothing short.” I said, “In general, this culture has no spending control whatsoever – everyone wants to be ‘world-class.’” 

“Who says that...” she asked. 

“It’s our inborn quality to show-off luxury-class. Look around, you will see boasting ‘prides’: ‘Hey, the neighbors have killed a chicken for lunch, let us kill an elephant!’; ‘they have purchased a car, we must buy a plane!’; ‘they have built a house, that’s nothing, we can build a fort....!”

“It is one’s wish to spend the way they want..!” she raised her eyebrows.

“Ma’am, am talking about the extravagant-class, those who stretch their feet beyond the blanket. Remember the Konkani saying, ‘Anturn polloun paiem soddunk zai..! Check the length of bed before stretching your legs!” 

I sensed she was getting mad by the minute. 

Afraid of being tonked, I decided to ease down a bit. Living a harmonious life ‘each day’ was more important to me than winning a ‘one-day international’ with my wife. 

“Dear ...,” I said calmly, “people use the Avenues only for evening walks nowadays; you know it is nearly 3 kms to and fro...” 

“Yeah I know. Let’s go for a walk then...” she said, agitated.

“But you must know the security concerns these days..” I had that one ready, “there are terror alerts ever since the bombings in...”

“Alright, forget the mall, let’s go on the beach, or garden?..”

I swear, at times my wife thinks I do not want to go anywhere simply because I am too lazy. 

What women need to understand is, when their husbands don’t wish to go; there must be a good, logical reason behind it. I wished someone could explain this to my wife. It is just hard to explain to her in terms women can understand. 

“You know, dear, it's a wonderful idea but it looks like it might rain any minute,” I said making it look if I was really interested to go. The key to this act is to put on a frown and look up in the sky, in a thoughtful frame of mind. 

"Yes, I think I saw a raindrop,” I continued. “It won't be long now; you know the rains here – thick and dirty. We don’t want to end up going for a car wash..”

“Hmm, it hardly rains...” she looked out at the twilight. “Anyway, we can rush back if it does..”

Right here is where most men fail. Simply because the ‘first round’ is over doesn’t mean, the matter is put to rest. I can sum up the next move in one word – just ‘vamoos’. 

In other words, disappear from the scene. Remember the common saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." 

I knew, if my wife caught the slightest sniff of knowing I was idle, she would pounce on me like a ‘kafeel on a lazy qadimah’. She could think of more things to do during a 10-second commercial than I could think of doing the entire year. 

But then, if I went out anywhere she would tail along too and conspire me into spending.

“Find something to get out from the line of fire,” I said to myself. There was always a chance - slim though it may be – that she would get busy with something else and forget.

“I guess I should do some cycling and push-ups, or workouts on the bench-press...”  I said.

“Alright, half an hour?.. Shall I get ready by then?” she was quick to reply.

I regretted having said that.

“We haven’t seen Shahrukh Khan’s DVD dear, that you brought last week.” I said eagerly. “I heard he’s amazing in this movie, we could watch that for a change!”

She was unmoved. It was like talking to the wall. 

I wished the phone would ring, WhatsApp would chime, or some alarm would go off – just to have her mind diverted. 

Nothing happened. 

“Dear, I have got this taste of eating ale-bele pancakes you made last time..” I said hoping she would take it as a compliment and hit the kitchen, and probably get lost there rest of the evening. 

“Pancakes are not for middle-class,” she said, visibly enraged – almost at the point of excreting embers, “Fry yourself some ‘papad’ and eat them with black tea. ..” 

Before I could think of something else to say, she said smiling: “Oh yeah, we can go to mom’s place; it’s been a while... Come-on..” 

I was certainly trapped now; her mom’s place was just a cat’s jump away.

If I said “No,” I knew I was in trouble. 

If I said “Yes,” I knew what I would head into -- I would probably get to know from my mother-in-law which ‘privileged-class’ I belonged to in my next reincarnation.

:::HAPPY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY dearest esparansa:::

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